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Jump into Change with Childlike Abandon


Regular readers of our blog will know by now that I have a 4 year old son. He's just about to finish his nursery year at school and after the summer holidays will be heading into his reception year and "big school". A couple of weeks ago we had his first induction into reception, we knew that we'd be finding out what class he'd be in and who his classmates would be – and I was worried sick.

I have a hang up about school because when I was 11 and moving up to secondary school, my parents chose to send me to a different school to the one all my friends were going to. There was only one other girl from my primary school going to their chosen secondary school and I didn't really know her. My parents had their reasons (none that I agreed with both at the time and still now) but they thought they were doing the right thing. However, this decision and the separation from my friends had a huge impact on me at the time, which even now have lasting consequences on the person I am and how I deal with change. So I was worried to the point of nausea about my precious child being separated from his friends.

I should point out here that our son is a completely different child to the one I was. He's outgoing and gregarious, takes everything in his stride and will give anything a go (unless it involves anything too high!) so despite knowing all of this, I just couldn't see past my own hang ups about change and school. We went along to induction and I sat with one of the other nursery mums who I get on well with and we talked about how we were both dreading our children being split up from their friends – they are friends with each other too, so were hoping they'd stay together – but as names were read out it became apparent that not only had our son and her daughter been separated, they were both being placed in the class that their closest friends weren't in. We were devastated to say the least. I was sat trying to hold back the tears, determined not to cry and when I glanced over at my friend I could see she was doing the same.

Then it was time for the children to head off to their new classes and meet their new teachers and classmates. How did they react? Were they sad and upset? Not in the slightest! They were all excited and chattering about new people and teachers – and when they came back 45 minutes later they were full of their new "best friends" and my son even asked me if his new friend could come back to our house for dinner! What were we worrying about? I chatted to the other mum later and we both admitted we were more worried for ourselves than the children, we had formed friendships and knew who we could call on to help or rant to and now we had to start again. Yet our 4 year olds thought it was a great and exciting new chapter. Isn't that a wonderful thing? When did we start to look at change as a negative thing, something to fear and expect the worst?

We should certainly take a leaf out of our children's books and view change more positively. There is some research by Pedro Poblete Lasserre from the Universidad de La Frontera in Chile called Bringing Positive Change into the World about his work in Canada with their aboriginal people bringing about positive change which reflects this.

After all, as adults we have choices about most of the changes we make in our lives, unlike the kids who generally have it foisted upon them. If we view it as a chance to meet new people, explore new places, learn new skills etc. we might just start to view the world through the eyes of a child again. Wouldn't that be fun?

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